CILS - Certificazione di Italiano come Lingua Straniera

CILS - Certificazione di Italiano come Lingua Straniera

The Certification of Italian as a Foreign Language (Certificazione di Italiano come Lingua Straniera or CILS) is a qualification offered by the Foreigners University of Siena for foreign speakers of the Italian language, recognizing various levels of language proficiency. The qualification is recognized by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and is often used to grant acceptance in any Italian university or higher education institution in Italy.

The origins of the modern CILS qualification are said to date back to 1588 when the Grand Duke of Tuscany Ferdinand I created a school for learning of the then Tuscan Italian language for German students. Subsequent movements for the dissemination of the Italian language and the Italian culture have also been established and promoted during history. The Foreigners University of Siena embodies the role nowadays for the official creation, distribution and awarding of the CILS qualification.

The qualification is officially issued on successful completion of a particular level as conforming with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages of the European Council. Therefore six levels of increasing difficulty represent the examinations involved to obtain the certificate. The beginner level examination starts at level A1 whilst the most advanced level is C2. As such the qualification resembles the DELF/DALF used for recognizing French language ability. This said, however, the qualification is often seen as comprising four levels (from CILS Uno to CILS Quattro, B1 to C2 according to the European Framework) as the Italian required becomes more advanced. All examinations cover what are viewed as the most important elements in language acquisition: speaking, reading, written composition, analysis of structures of communication and listening.
CILS Uno The first (B1) of the more advanced levels requires the passing of a three hour-long examination, testing an applicant's knowledge of basic Italian.

CILS Due The second level (B2) features a four hour-long examination with an advancement of difficulty. This level is considered as recognizing an applicant's sustained ability to adequately converse in Italian and is the level from which one may apply for entrance to an Italian university without sitting the normally obligatory language assessment.

CILS Tre The third level (C1) is again another advancement in difficulty and represents a high competence in speaking Italian. An applicant must pass a five hour-long examination to receive this level of qualification.

CILS Quattro The fourth level (C2) is the highest level of the CILS qualifications. Upon successful completion of the five and a half-hour long examination of this level an applicant is regarded as having reached a point of language mastery, almost akin to that of a native.
Eligibility for the CILS qualification is open to all (Italian residents abroad and non-Italian speakers) wishing to validate their skills in Italian. Applicants of any age are eligible to apply with the preparation for the examination highly encouraged.

List of schools

ABC School in Florence

Via dei Bardi, 28, Florence, 12 Show Map

The ABC School of Florence has been teaching the Italian Language and Culture to students from all over the world since 1982.... Learn more »

ABC School in Sestri Levante

Via Portobello 12, Sestri Levante, 12 Show Map

The ABC School has been teaching the Italian Language and Culture to students from all over the world and has its main office... Learn more »

Accademia Italiana - Salerno

via Roma 39, Salerno, 12 Show Map

Accademia Italiana - Salerno is one of the most accredited Italian Language Schools in the South Italy, being recognized by ... Learn more »


Via San Lorenzo 21/17, Genova, 12 Show Map

A small quality school where language matters. Schools are often the same. Same posters on the walls, same furniture, same re... Learn more »

Ciao Italia

Via delle Frasche 5, Italy, 84 Show Map

CIAO ITALIA is a centre that specialises in teaching Italian to foreigners which was founded in 1996 by graduate teachers spe... Learn more »

Dilit International House

Via Marghera 22, Rome, 12 Show Map

Dilit (Divulgazione Lingua Italiana), established in 1974, was one of the first language schools in Italy to teach Italian as... Learn more »

Federico II - Centro lingua italiana

via Piave 4, Sicily, 12 Show Map

Our Italian Language School is located in Catania, the most lively city in Eastern coast of Sicily, the biggest island in the... Learn more »

International Language School STUDIOITALIA

Via Tibullo 16, Rome, 12 Show Map

STUDIOITALIA is an Italian language school for foreigners founded in 1985. For the last 25 years it has been one of the most ... Learn more »

Italian Cultural Center  Fabrizio de Andrè

Square Eroi Sanremesi 26, San Remo, 12 Show Map

We teach only Italian, only for foreigners! Our Italian language school in Italy ( Sanremo) for foreigners was founded some y... Learn more »

L'Italiano con noi

Via Pellicciai 17, Verona, 12 Show Map

L'Italiano con noi boasts a unique central location in the heart of the ancient city, just a few steps from Piazza delle Erbe... Learn more »


Via Roma 14, San Remo, 12 Show Map

OMNILINGUA is a professional school specialised in Italian, Arabic, French, Japanese, English, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish a... Learn more »

Scuola Glossa

Via Muraccio 61a, Ascona, 13 Show Map

Glossa school, active since 1992, is situated in a marvellous lake setting where the town of Ascona lies, with a relaxing pan... Learn more »

Scuola Leonardo da Vinci Milano

via C. Darwin 20, Milan, 12 Show Map

Scuola Leonardo da Vinci is located inside a student campus together with two fashion and design academies in the Navigli zon... Learn more »

Scuola Tricolore

Via Edilio Raggio 1/ 3, Genoa, 12 Show Map

In the scenic centre of Genoa, just a short walk from the seafront, Scuola Tricolore occupies a beautifully restored historic... Learn more »

The Italian Academy

Via San Giovanni alle Catacombe, 7, Siracusa, 12 Show Map

• 30 years experience. Accredited by the MIUR, Italian Ministry of Education. • Highly qualified teachers. • Centrally ... Learn more »


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